Your first place Philadelphia Union defeated the Chicago Fire 2-0 on a hot, steamy night at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester.
Union starting XI: Blake; Wagner, Trusty, Elliott, Gaddis; Medunjanin, Aaronson (Ilsinho 77′), Bedoya, Fabian(Fontana 61′); Picault (Creavalle 90′), Przybylko
Chicago starting XI: Kronholm; Corrales (Lilliard 42′), Schweinsteiger, Kappelhof, Calvo, Bronico; Frankowski, Mihailovic (Campos 70′), Herbers, Nikolic (Katai 70′); Sapong
With DC United’s 4-1 win over FC Cincinnati on Thursday night, the Union needed a win to keep some space in the table between them and the second place club.
The weather wouldn’t make it easy. With the temperature in the high 90s and the dewpoint well over 70°, the conditions were difficult. But the Union had the edge, being the home team and with Chicago playing in their third match in eight days.
And the Union came out swinging. They started off strong, resulting in an early goal by Marco Fabian. In the 11th minute, a Haris Medunjanin free kick near the side of the 18-yard box was a short pass to Kai Wagner at the top of the box, who in turn passed it to Fabian who blasted it into the net from about 25 yards out.
The U took the foot off the gas after that first goal, and the run of play was pretty even between the teams for the rest of the first half. Both teams had chances, neither could convert.
As the second half wore on the Union picked up steam. They started controlling the run of play, though C.J. Sapong did force Andre Blake to make a couple saves with some well taken headers. In the 60th minute Union manager Jim Curtin replaced Fabian with Anthony Fontana, and it didn’t take long for the move to pay dividends. Five minutes later, Wagner tried to cross the ball which was bouncing around the edge of the 6-yard box. The ball deflected off Johan Kappelhof’s leg and fell in front of Fontana, who one-timed it in for the insurance goal.
After that, the Union went into time wasting mode, and were able to finish out the match with a clean sheet and a two-goal win.
- Curtin said it might have been the hottest night he’s been in as a coach or a player. I can tell you it was plenty toasty in the press box
- Wagner was booked with a yellow card for Unsporting Behavior in the 19th minute. He will be suspended for the Union’s next match due to yellow card accumulation.
- Despite the heat, the crowd turned out tonight, with announced attendance at 17471. That’s what first place will do for you.
- Andre Blake seemed to tweak a leg muscle in the first half. New goalkeeper Joe Bendik warmed up, but ultimately remained on the bench.
- New striker Andrew Wooten stayed on the bench too, though he was on the gameday 18.
- The Union remain in first place with 39 points. Second place DC United are four points behind with 35.
The Union’s next match will be Saturday in Montreal. Hopefully it will be a little cooler up in Canada.